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“All About Me”

…but really nothing about me. Nope, this one is all about none other then my mother, a.k.a. “Ma Self”. And no, contrary to popular belief, she was not an only child like myself, but rather the youngest child, the baby of the family.  Not really sure which is worse – you will have to ask Mr. Engineer Boyfriend that one 🙂

To kinda sorta set the stage let me just fill you in on a few things about the one and only Ma Self. She is an art teacher by trade and an artist by nature. I don’t mean to stereotype or anything but for me this meant I grew up with an interesting mix of business savvy (Pa Self) and um, a complete and utter lack of respect for “the man” (Ma Self).

Yep, it has been Ma Self who has always encouraged me to give up my day job and become a lifeguard. “You always loved the water!” And Ma Self who gave me a “tie dye” kit for my college graduation.  Ma Self who paid an animal psychic to connect with Bill the dog (who left us in ’02) to try and understand how she could have raised us better – sibling rivalry and all. Yes, and it was Ma Self who named the dog, “Bill”.

It was a shock of course to Ma Self when I graduated college and instead of living off the land somewhere went to work for the biggest of all corporations – IBM. It was a shock to me eight years later when she decided to trade in the pens and pencils and take up Powerpoint. Yes, Powerpoint. And not just any version of Powerpoint – but Powerpoint 2007.  (She is way too advanced for all the other versions, her words, not mine.)

So over the course of 2007 and well into 2008 Ma Self took a one credit hour course in Powerpoint. I of course feel as though I took that same course – if only virtually. Yes, while the final deliverable was just a  single (as in one) presentation she could present to her class named “All About Me”, to my mother, the “Blank Template” one finds when selecting New -> Presentation stood as an empty canvas; one just waiting to be painted with jumping dogs, waving hands and ringing bells.

Yes, by the time it was all said and done Ma Self managed to create a presentation that broke every single rule one could think of in the corporate world. It had animation, it had sound effects, it was choreographed, there were different fonts, different transitions…there was the fact that it was 2.1GB and would crash everyone elses laptop except for my own trusty rusty T60. But the one thing it wasn’t was ugly. Although I can safely say her “movie” (I will refer to it that way now since it was way more a production then a presentation would not have flown at any conference to which I have been a presenter it was certainly a true representation of her – imagined, creative and inspired. I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

And so here are just a couple of my personal favorites – some of the smaller ones I could actually take a screen capture of.

(The “I Have Lived in 6 States Slide” is completely animated. With the initial click, a John Deere tractor zooms in from the right to point to Illinois AND makes a honking sound.  Another click and a spinning Alamo lands with a splat in the state of Texas. Click again and a few bowling pins appear in a checkerboard pattern over Ohio. Moments later a crab claws its way onto the screen and so on and so on. This process takes about ten minutes to complete and when it is all said and done the slide alone = 540MB, generally crashing Powerpoint)


(The “My Daughter Angela” slide. This one starts with a drumroll. And some flickering of the background image before a rather unflattering picture of me with a beer and a nasty green background appears on the screen. Oh and did I mention the name “Angela” goes screeching, yes, screeching in from the left and then slides back to the right.)

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8 Responses

  1. I love your mom. 🙂 I am still laughing my ass off from this post. Thank you for aiding in my weight loss program.

  2. As all parents do….find a way to embarrass their kids. Nice work. I always wanted a “cool” mom like that.

  3. I love it… The really funny thing is, just 2 weeks ago I was teaching my mom how to do a presentation. IN OFFICE 2007! Wasn’t nearly advanced as Ma Self’s, but satisfactory.

    As you might know, she is a first grade teacher, but doing a presentation finishing her masters. Her quote around Powerpoint, “I kinda like it, makes me feel hip.”

  4. Hi, this is none other than yours truly, “MA SELF” here.
    First of all, you are one helluva writer. Every time I read one of your lovely entries I, like Gia, also laugh my ass off–or at least try to, but it always stays. For all your Pink Pamphlet readers–and especially you, missy–I lovingly wish to set the record straight.
    To begin with, I would like to clarify a point: In paragraph #2, I hope that when you said I had a complete and utter disrespect for “the man”, you meant the business world and not your father. I have always had the utmost respect for Pa Self (in case you are reading this, Paul. So much so, that neither Angela nor I ever called you “Pa Self” to your face).
    Second, almost everyting else you said about me is true. However, it was the PowerPoint 2003 version, as I was too cheap to spring for the 2007 one that I got as a trial on my super-duper state-of -the-art laptop that I purchased last summer and have used twice. Even though you showed me how to cheat and use other people’s wireless connections, I still have to get a handle on that.
    I digress. Yes, I admit to turning my presentation into something short of a movie; but in my own defense it was for KINDERGARTNERS to see, for gawdsakes. Totally difference audience…
    …OR IS IT?
    But last, here is the kicker: Funnily enough, all you readers out there, the two slides she has chosen to show you were created by HER, not me. After she laughed HER ass off at the three paltry little beginner slides I made that I showed her, she then proceeded to lecture me about all the things I had done wrong and all the “rules” (IBM’S?) that I had broken. After I had been put in my place and went to sulk in my room, SHE sat down for the next four hours and produced those two frickin’ slides she showed you! I kid you not, I am telling the truth.
    So there. The jig is up. If only I knew how to post some of MY OWN slides on this new-fangled bloggy-thingy, I would happily do so. Until then, keep these fantastic entries of yours coming. I laugh my ass off at every single one of them. Maybe someday it will actually work!
    Much XOXOXOXOXOXO from Ma Self

  5. P.S. By the way, how DO I get a couple of my own slides posted on this thing.

    Call me?

  6. Love your bloggins. I see your humor and brains which you got from Ma Self and Pa Self . ..and probably came up with alot Ya Self. Keep it up.

  7. And I’m related to these people. Sigh.
    Creativity and irreverence runs rampant in the family, especially when it’s aimed at family members, and is a great source of mirth. Pa Self was attracted to it, so he added to the pot with his urbane, sly sense of humor. So you, Angela, come by it naturally. You got it all and from both sides. And I was heartened to hear that when you were 8 years old and Department Store Santa suggested you whittle down your list of 23 presents, you told him to stick it up his nose. Chip off the old block. We all were so proud.
    Keep it up, A!

  8. Hi, it’s just me, checking out your Pink Pamphlet again. You said that both my sisters had replied to your blog, so I was checking to see what they said. This note is to clarify what Judy daid you said to Santa. True, you DID say that, but not to him directly. I raised you to have better manners than that–or perhaps he wasn’t listening, because he didn’t drop kick you off his lap. You said that to ME, and then I told everyone in the family what you said. Just like having all those imaginary friends then and now, you had imaginary arguments and stand-offs with people who pissed you off. You would always tell me what you said to them, and I would be horrified and say, “Did you really say that?” And you would say no, you didn’t.
    The scary thing is that you STILL do that with me and I STILL ask if you say those thngs out loud. And you still say no.
    The cool thing is that I am starting to do this myself. It is very satisfying to tell silently yell at someone that he/she is an effing idiot. And I don’t get drop-kicked either. Especially off someone’s lap.

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